Pickleball, a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong (and chess!) has been gaining immense popularity in recent years. The game, which is played on a smaller court than tennis and requires less physical exertion, has attracted people of all ages and fitness levels. Additionally, the low learning curve and social aspects of the sport have made it an attractive option for beginners and experienced players alike. Another reason for pickleball’s explosive growth is its accessibility – the game can be played indoors or outdoors, and requires minimal equipment. These factors have contributed to the sport’s insane growth and increasing popularity.
The growth and popularity of pickleball has been steady of a decade or more, but it has accelerated in the past few years leading to higher demand for dedicated pickleball facilities and courts. Pickleball court capacity issue
More pickleball courts are needed
There are 10 million regular tennis players in the U.S. playing on 250,000 tennis courts. Depending on whose data you believe, the number of regular pickleball players is at least 6 million, and maybe much more. The estimates of pickleball courts in the U.S. ranges from 10,000 to 30,000. Even at 30,000 the ratio of courts to players is far below that of tennis, and pickleball is growing much faster than tennis. By some estimates over 200,000 courts would be needed by 2030 to fulfill demand. That’s crazy.
Re-purposing base on court demand
In thousands of communities Pickleball players have figured ways to use or convert existing *tennis courts, basketball courts, YMCA gymnasiums, parking lots, and Cul d Sacs so they can play. In Rhode Island there are courts on the reclaimed tarmac of a retired navy airstrip. It’s a land grab! In Colorado private plane owners have moved their planes outside so they can play pickleball in the empty hangar. In Mexico, ‘snowbird’ winter visitors have re-purposed town basketball courts. This is where most of today’s 30,000 courts are….dedicated court are coming
Pickleball court demand create issues
Yes you can play pickleball on a converted tennis court, this guerilla style re-purposing has been great….it is often low or no cost, and has contributed greatly to the growth of the sport. This will continue to be an important and unique part of the growing pickleball phenomenon, but unfortunately, in many places it simply isn’t enough. There are several issues with the current supply of re-purposed pickleball courts. Overcrowding and long wait times for example.
- Demand exceeding supply, courts getting too crowded
- Tensions with other users (tennis players, basketball leagues, etc)
- Quality of facilities can be mixed
Dedicated courts are being built like crazy to fulfill demand. Some projects are driven solely by pickleball play, others combine pickleball with other sports or with food and beverage. Here is list of sample projects.
*Yes you can play pickleball on a tennis court…but
there are several issues that can make it awkward
- Tennis nets are higher so they need to be lowered or temporary nets need to be brought in
- Lines need to be taped or painted on, and these can be confusing over existing lines
- 2 or 3 pickleball courts can be marked out on one tennis court, but the fencing to contain balls is not highly suitable
- Tennis player on adjacent courts can sometimes be annoyed
Pickleball Business Advisors is brothers Bill and John Pryor. We provide a variety of consulting services based on extensive experience in fitness business development, and research into the fast growing pickleball marketplace. To initiate a feasibility assessment for your pickleball club, or for other consulting, contact us so we can learn about your project.